14 September 2017

Liberia: UNAIDS Reaffirms Support

UNAIDS Country Office in Liberia has reaffirmed its support to the Liberia Network of Persons Living with HIV (LibNeP +).UNAIDS is the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS.

Dr. Miriam Chipimo, UNAIDS Country Director to Liberia made the reaffirmation over the weekend, when she addressed the Network's regular quarterly Association Meeting in Monrovia.

The meeting was about renewing, redoubling and reenergizing the efforts of the Network in contributing to the newly adopted Accelerated National HIV and AIDS Emergency plan (Catch-Up plan) of the Government of Liberia.

The Catch-Up plan is aligned with the Political Declaration on ending AIDS by 2030 approved in June 2016 at the UN General Assembly in New York, USA.

The Political Declaration is aimed at catalyzing the country and the region on ending AIDS as public health threat by 2030.

Dr. Chipimo said UNAIDS remains fully committed to supporting persons living with HIV globally and those in Liberia are no exception.

"We are here because of you. We will always do our best to be there to help you," said Dr. Chipimo.

According to the UNAIDS Country Director, persons living with HIV are key players to the national AIDS response, and that Liberia cannot be robust implementing its accelerated national catch-up plan of meeting the 90-90-90 target towards ending AIDS in the absence of the Network's active role.

Dr. Chipimo said Liberia is one of the countries in the West and Central African Region that is behind the progress as testified in various reports. She said meeting the three 90s will be an appreciated achievement for Liberia.

To reach there, the UNAIDS Country Director challenged persons living with HIV to advance progress on reducing stigma and discrimination in the country.

She wants PLHIV to increase dialogue at the community level to develop best approach to end stigma and discrimination and end AIDS.

"You need to build on the support group discussion level to advance activities in the community where you are already. Design programs that include community dialogues to generate a paradigm shift-to supportive perceptions and responses towards persons living with HIV and their families," Dr. Chipimo said.

During the meeting, the Network members agreed to advance strategies to end the epidemic despite challenges of insufficient logistics support, good roads, and frequent occurrence of stock out of drugs in rural areas, and stigma and discrimination.

Josephine Godoe, President of the Network, reiterated the need for unity among members of the Network to overcome challenges facing the Network internally and externally.

"Instead of fighting among ourselves, people are dying-this is a great challenge for us, this is the time for us to come and speak out... so that our voices can be heard... let's continue to do the good work," madam Godoe said.

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